The relevance of job posting and business networking sites

This article over at TechCrunch got me thinking:

When was the last time I actually applied for a job that I initially saw on a job posting? Even in the case of the jobs that I've applied for that happened to be posted on a job board or classified ad, I didn't hear about them through the job board, but through network connections.

In the time I've spent looking at jobs on the big job sites, the job postings are usually written with such a specific list of skills that only one person really matches the job description:  the person who had been doing the job prior to the posting going up.  I would imagine that such specificity leads to two things:

  • Qualified applicants being discouraged from applying
  • Unqualified applicants applying because they take the excessive list of skills as an indicator that the potential employer really has no clue what they want.

I remember all the hype surrounding the big Internet job boards.  It seems that the same hype was repeated with the professional networking sites [LinkedIn], none of which provide enough value to use until you're looking for a job.

Instead, I've found the following combination or resources works best for me:

  • I maintain contact with former classmates and co-workers through Facebook, not LinkedIn.  I've found that people are more likely to keep their contact information up-to-date through Facebook because there are other reasons to log-in to the service other than the simple "networking/contacts maintenance" aspect.  Now, if LinkedIn converted logins to Facebook Connect, it might become marginally more useful.
  • I maintain a public presence/persona through Twitter, building a support community by responding to friends who have questions or concerns.
  • I meet people in real life, whether through running marathons or local networking events.  This is especially important for the internet-only friends.  Old co-workers and classmates have at least a minimal impression of me in real life.  Online friends don't, unless I at least have meet them for a drink or before a marathon start.

In the end, all the technology does is accelerate the success or failure of your strategy.  Being a stranger or a bad fit in the virtual space is an easier rejection than being a strange or a bad fit in real life--after all, is a "virtual" friend even real?

Who stole my cheese?

I seem to remember seeing this book shortly after Enron, Worldcom, etc., imploded.  It seems to be fitting once again.

Romancing the Clock

"Accentuate the positives and reduce the negatives in your life." Reduce stress. Put things in perspective. Hire someone to mow the grass if you don't like doing it. Don't fight battles that cost you the war.

Some points of this book seemed a little bit excessive if taken literally, but I think the book as a whole is more of a self-help book for examining how you are spending your time. Sometimes the "accentuate the positives" and "reduct the negatives" is over-simplistic, but the stark examples help drive home a point as well. Since I enjoy having perspective shaken up once in a while, I enjoyed this book. If you're not both open-minded and willing to take advice with a grain of salt, this book may not be a good fit for you.

O'Reilly Book: Programming C#

Programming C#: Building .NET Applications with C#

I'm not always impressed with books published under the O'Reilly label. I usually find them much more useful as a reference guide than a learning tool.

This book, however, stands out. As someone well-versed in Java and C++ concepts, this book was a helpful introduction to C#. Whenever a topic was presented in which Visual Basic, C++ or Java differed, there was an information box for the section pointing out the differences in C# compared to the other language mentioned.

How Not to Program in C++

How Not to Program in C++: 111 Broken Programs and 3 Working Ones, or Why Does 2 + 2 = 5986
I expected many great things from this book. I got mixed results. I usually enjoy figuring out "Bugs of the Day" and the like, but this was book was largely a mix of grading papers from an introductory programming class and debugging buggy programs at work.

Low points:

  • Debugging printf format specifiers and forward slash for escaping characters.
  • A few fairly long programs with somewhat trivial errors.

High points:

  • Bugs encountered as a result of optimizing compilers.
  • Exploring of lesser used features of the C/C++ language
  • Some interesting puzzles to find where initialization and/or destruction order went wrong.